Press Releases

SOMERSET, KY -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers presented war medals to the family of a World War I hero from Whitley County, Kentucky. Private First Class Abraham Smith was part of the U.S. Army's WWI American Expeditionary Force, known as the "Polar Bears." On October 27, 1918, PFC Smith carried wounded soldiers to the dressing station and delivered a message under artilllery fire in north Russia. Unfortunately, he was never awarded the military medals that he valiantly earned.

"Southern and Eastern Kentucky is full of heroic war stories from the sons and daughters of this region who bravely served this nation on the front lines. Mr. Smith never expected to receive any medals and never boasted to his family about his heroic actions in Russia during World War I. It wasn't until family members started researching military records that they realized their father and grandfather was one of the Army's storied 'Polar Bears,'" said Congressman Rogers. "I count it a great honor to help families secure war medals that were never awarded to our men and women in uniform. It's the least that I can do for their incredible sacrifice for this great nation." 

Congressman Rogers presented the Silver Star, the WWI Victory Medal and the WWI Bronze Victory Pin to Mr. Smith's daughter, Alice Parks; Rev. Raymond Parks, his son-in-law; Butch Parks, his grandson; and Jacob Losekamp his great-great-great-grandson. 

"We had no idea what my father had done. He never talked about what happened during the war," said Alice Parks. "We are so proud of him and we could never explain what these medals mean to us after all these years."

"My grandfather was an incredible, hard-working man. It was difficult to get his military records, but when I called Congressman Rogers for help, he and his staff helped us track down the records we needed," said Butch Parks. "We are so grateful to Congressman Rogers and his staff for making this a matter of importance and getting these medals for our family."

All four of Abraham Smith's sons served in the military, as well as two grandsons, carrying on a legacy of patriotic service for the United States.  

For more information about Congressman Rogers, visit